Texting Campaign

Reporter: Tineka Everaardt

Mick and Vicki Richardson light up when they talk about their daughter Brooke.

While working as a hairdresser, Brooke shaved her head to bring a smile to the face of a little girl with leukaemia. "Brooke asked her, would you like it if I looked like you and the little girl said oh yeah, so Brooke sat in the chair and the little girl got the clippers and shaved Brookes head", Vicki said.

Vicki says she is proud of the girl she was: was -- past tense which is not how any parent wants to talk about their child.

Brooke died last Tuesday in a car crash that should never have happened. The 20 year old was texting as she drove. "They told me it had been a single car accident, there was a fatality and it was Brooke", Mick said.

Mick is a police officer and before that, a member of a volunteer rescue squad. He's seen many car accidents and thought about the impact on the families involved. Now sadly, he's experiencing it firsthand. "I felt in a rage. One of the things I always try to drive home to Brooke and my other two boys was you have got to be so careful in your car, so careful, and maybe I just didn't get that message across", Mick said.

Brooke's car veered off the road and into a tree. Coming to the scene is heartbreaking but it's a big part of the family's grieving process. "I just felt like I needed to be here and touch where she was, that last touch. I don't know what I thought I was going to find but I kept looking at the ground and trying to find something that she was here", Vicki said.

Inspector David Ryan is angered and frustrated by Brooke's death and the rise he's seeing in accidents caused by drivers not concentrating on the road. "It was actually the third fatal we'd had in the area in three days. Distraction is the greatest tell-tale in each of those collisions", Ins. Ryan said.

It is a cause in 22% of all car crashes and 71% of truck accidents, according to Queensland's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety. "At the moment I'm not sure that our level of enforcement is actually having the desired impact", Ins. Ryan added.

Police know that texting behind the wheel can be as dangerous as drink driving, but their message just isn't getting through. That's why Brooke's parents are starting a campaign to try and curb distracted driving. "We want to make sure that Brooke didn't die in vain -- we're starting a foundation for Brooke, to get awareness out there", Mick said.

"If we can stop one other family from going through this pain, that's it, we've done it", Mick added.

Brooke passed away just last week so it is very courageous of the family to come forward. "I think she has a bit to do with this too, she orchestrates some things around here and she wants this to happen", Vicki said.

Contact details

Brooklyn Richardson's Facebook Page www.facebook.com/brooklyn.richardson